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We’ve all recovered from the flu, packing and cleaning for the move has resumed and I want to quit. I’m so stressed out and overwhelmed that the little sleep I get is agitated by my subconscious to replaying and dumping all of my hectic moments and stresses into my consciousness throughout the night. We really lived in this house. It has been well-loved and its every crevice crammed with our overabundance of belongings. Pulling our life and home from this place has been a monumental task and I’m now paying the price for two years (interestingly, the lifespan of my youngest child) of neglect and distraction. And as I did with our last move, with each box I pack and each cupboard I declutter I vow never to let our stuff overtake us again.

I am now (okay… again) on a mission to organize and am very grateful to have come across some brilliant ideas for my worst, peskiest problems. Clutter offender #1, for me: paper. I hate paper! My son comes home from school with several pages each day from school, we have papers from the doctor, papers from my husband’s work, boxes of papers from my work and magazines stacked sky high. If I didn’t just throw them in a box and stuff them into a garage, I feel like I would be stuck sorting papers all day every day of my life. Unfortunately for me, I get to tackle all of those boxes now.

A friend of mine and one of those organized mommies, Meredith recently shared with me her system: her daughter walks in the door from school, shows Mom her work and then tosses it in the recycle. Why did I never think of that? So, as painful as it is for me, a hard-core keepsake keeper (“But maybe when he’s older he’ll want to see the progression of his letter W handwriting pages.”) I am doing it. It comes in and goes right back out, save a few special things I know he might actually care about.

Meredith also turned me on to a friend’s blog on which was posted one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen. Katrina’s put together an enormous medical binder for each of her kids with doctor’s cards, immunization and medical records and all kinds of other goodies that can’t seem to find a place in my home. I’m off to pick up binders for my kids tonight! With those, a couple of kid-art binders and about a million plastic sheet protectors, I’m seeing an end to my paper woes off in the distant horizon. Thanks ladies! By the way, check out Katrina’s idea for organizing kid’s books too… genius! And Meredith’s idea for a gadget charging station.

Clutter offender #2: clothes. Okay, so I’m really never going to fit into those pre-marital jeans that I loved so much. It’s just not going to happen. They’re all gone! Yay! We got rid of more than half of the clothes that we were hanging onto and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much this one effort has affected our overall organization. I was, however, dismayed to find that no matter how few clothes you own, you will always have clothing clutter until you learn to put 1-2 loads of laundry through the wash and back onto hangers every day. Huge bummer! I keep thinking there’s a secret to this one that I’m missing.

Clutter offender #3: toys. Still no solution to this problem. We’ve gotten rid of more than half of the kids’ toys in the great gutting and it took days to gather them all from the far corners of the house. This is the aftermath of the failed rotating bins idea. I’m sure you’ve heard this one. You put all of their toys in three, five, or seven bins and rotate each day which toys the kids play with. The catch: your kids have to know how to clean up the toys when they are finished and before they move on to the next one. (Okay, so this is the catch with any system) Otherwise they end up under the couch, the bed, in the wrong bag or bin, in the toilet… anywhere but where they belong.

It feels awesome to get organized but I am frustrated to be starting from scratch again with so few days until the move. For now I’m burning the candle at both ends, plowing along and forgetting my life outside this house. I’m sure I’ll get some sleep by late June.

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